Queen Elizabeth I
1 portrait by Nicholas Hilliard
Queen Elizabeth I
associated with Nicholas Hilliard
oil on panel, circa 1575
31 in. x 24 in. (787 mm x 610 mm)
Click on the links below to find out more:
Sitterback to top
- Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603), Reigned 1558-1603. Sitter associated with 129 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Nicholas Hilliard (1547-1619), Miniature painter. Artist associated with 34 portraits.
This portraitback to top
This portrait is known as the 'Phoenix' portrait after the prominent phoenix jewel that Elizabeth wears at her chest, which was an emblem for rebirth and chastity. She also wears a heavy jewelled collar with a red and white Tudor rose in the centre. This portrait is associated with the artist Nicholas Hilliard because of the similarity of the pattern for the face to a miniature painted in 1572 and the controlled way in which the paint has been handled. It is evident that the position of the face was moved during the painting process, and a second set of features can be seen very faintly beneath the surface. Conservation of this painting was supported by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Art Conservation Project.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Bennett, Sue, Five Centuries of Women and Gardens, 2000 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 5 October 2000 to 21 January 2001), p. 21
- Bolland, Charlotte; Cooper, Tarnya, The Real Tudors: Kings and Queens Rediscovered, 2014 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 12th September 2014 to 1st March 2015), p. 145
- Clare Gittings, The National Portrait Gallery Book of Elizabeth I, 2006, p. 11
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 200
- Strong, Roy, Tudor and Jacobean Portraits, 1969, p. 101
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
- The Real Tudors: Kings and Queens Rediscovered (12 September 2014 - 1 March 2015)
Subjects & Themesback to top
Mediaback to top
Events of 1575back to top
Current affairsQueen Elizabeth I declines the offer of sovereignty of the Netherlands made by William of Orange, leader of the Dutch Protestant resistance to Spanish rule.
The royal favourite Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester hosts a lavish entertainment for the Queen at Kenilworth.
Art and scienceThe composers William Byrd and Thomas Tallis dedicate Cantiones Sacrae (Sacred Songs) to Queen Elizabeth I after receiving a royal patent for the exclusive right to publish music.
InternationalFacing bankruptcy, Philip II of Spain suspends all payments by the Spanish crown. Don Luis de Requesens can no longer pay his troops in the Netherlands.
Akbar, Mughal Emperor of India, conquers Bengal.
The Battle of Nagashino features the first decisive use of firearms in Japanese warfare.
Exhibitions and displays
- Framing the Face: Collars and Ruffs
Until 16 July
- Concealed and Revealed: The Changing Faces of Elizabeth I
- WebQuest: Elizabeth I's New Portrait
- WebQuest: Painting Elizabeth I
- WebQuest: Henry VIII's Next Wife?
- WebQuest: Famous People Guy Fawkes
- Concealed and Revealed:
The Changing Faces of Elizabeth I
- My Favourite Portrait by Fiona Shaw
- My Favourite Portrait by P.D. James
- Hidden: Unseen Paintings Beneath Tudor Portraits
- Tudor pick up guides
- Kings and Queens: A Family tree
- WebQuest: Tudor Artist's Apprentice
- Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Art Conservation Project